The National Museum, The National Theatre, The National and University Library, Banskidvor cultural center, Archive, Children’s Theatre and Modern Arts Museum are the most important cultural institutions in town. The National Theatre and Ethno Museum were founded in 1930. The first director of the Museum was the famous painter Spiro Bocaric. Not long after the foundation of the Museum and the Theater, the National Library was opened. The Library’s book fund is 250 000 examples with 3 500 unique books of great value. The Children’s Theatre was opened in 1960.
Banja Luka has two more theatres – DIS, the Youth Theatre and the City Theatre "Jazavac". The Children's Theatre is the host of evening performances of “Atelier 313” and International Puppet Theatre which takes place every year in October.
The Museum of Modern Arts abounds with impressive art pieces and Banskidvor cultural center has one of the most acoustic music halls in the Balkans.
The most famous and the most popular cultural happenings are literal encounters “Kocicevisusreti”, “Teatarfest” and “Banja Luka Book Fair”.
This year Banja Luka will be the host of three film festivals - International Film Festival (from 2. to 9. May), The Second International Short Film Festival “Kratkofil” (from 11. to 15. June) and International Animation Film Festival “Banja Luka 2008.”(from 22. to 27.October).
The world’s movie premiere are shown in the “Palas” cinema and modern multiplex cinemas “Kozara”. Art associations “Protok” and “Race”, promoters of modern art, are giving special charm to the cultural scene of Banja Luka.
The oldest historical monument in the city is the Kastel fortress, which in the past was very important stronghold of roman army. In overall Banja Luka area there are many medieval monasteries such as Gomionica, Mostanica and Liplje and also the Convent of “Marija Zvijezda” in Trapisti founded in late seventies of XIX century by catholic monks known as “trapisti”. These catholic monks built several industry sections, among them the first brewery in Banja Luka region, and tradition in cheese production is preserved even nowadays.
Orthdox and catholic churches, as well as mosques are located in the town center. Finishing works on rebuilding one of the most beautiful orthodox shrines, the church of Christ Savior, razed to the ground during the World War Two, are being carried out. The reconstruction of the Ferhadija mosque is in progress. This mosque was on the list of UNESCO world heritage and devastated during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bonaventura cathedral is in the immediate area of the orthodox church of Holy Trinity.